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Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Grind type /...  
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AzamK100
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 8:06am
Subject: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

Hi all -

First of all, just want to thank the community here.  I've actually been on anonymous reader of coffeegeek since last August.  It has provided me great tips on how to make espresso.

However, I'm still running into some unusual issues so I'd like to ask them here for advice.  First, my set up is a Gaggia Classic paired with a Baratza Virtuoso Preciso grinder.  I've always used fresh beans (<2 weeks from roast time).  

The challenge I face is that when I get 2 oz. @ 25 seconds, the espresso always comes out very overpowering, bitter, and rough.  In order to achieve the 25 sec brew time, I have to dial my grinder down to a 2 out of 40.  I use fresh coffee exactly @ 14g (have tried 15 and 16). The coffee is very fine, and I then use the WDT with a toothpick to even it out.  I tamp on a flat surface very evenly with about 30-40 lbs. of force.  

I have dialed up the grinder to a 3-4 and found that no matter how hard I tamp, the espresso brews in 15 seconds or less.  It also tends to blonde a bit early.  However, this tastes better than the former pull.  Any ideas on what I might be doing wrong?

Keep in mind, I do use fresh water (tried filtered and spring), I use fresh coffee (tried several from Alegro to Lavazza), I also pull a water shot to clear the brew group before pulling a shot.

Looking for any and all advice.  Thanks guys!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,958
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 8:48am
Subject: Re: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

So wait. There's no way the Lavazza is less than 2 weeks post roast. Have you tried any beans on the "HB list of favorites"?

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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AzamK100
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 8:52am
Subject: Re: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

Are you suggesting it's the beans?  My mistake on "always used".  Meant to say I've also used fresh beans.  The alegro beans were roasted the day before I bought them.

I can keep trying different beans but the consistency and flow look perfect based on what I've seen on videos with crema on top (standard portafilter, not the pressurized one).

I can try the suggested list but didn't want to continue spending money on various beans if I was blatantly missing something in my technique.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 9:07am
Subject: Re: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

Your techniques sounds fine; it's the beans.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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john_ertw
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 10:30am
Subject: Re: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

I have the same issue (bitter/harsh espresso).  I am currently on my second bag of Social Coffee (Farmer's Collective Organic Espresso).  Opened the first bag 3 days post roast and finished it 10 days post roast.  I opened the second bag 7 days post roast and am now 12 days post roast.  Social suggests this coffee is at it's best 7-10 days post roast (from a sealed bag).

I have been using 15g of espresso and making between 25-30g of espresso and was brewing it between 25-30 seconds.  

With the first bag (and other coffees I've tried before) I get what I think is too much bitterness/harshness in the cup (the espresso is good with sugar or as a cappuccino, but too bitter to enjoy straight).  Towards the end of the first bag I tried grinding coarser which resulted in brewing about 30g in 18-20 seconds.  I didn't think this would be any good based on the general parameters recommended, but found I am finally able to enjoy the espresso without sugar due to the reduced bitterness.

Why is this the case?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Sun Jan 20, 2013, 1:11am
Subject: Re: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

The beans are the first suspect if all else is OK.
Second, what is you brew temp?  Too hot or too cold will cause the brew to be either sour or bitter.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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john_ertw
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sun Jan 20, 2013, 5:15am
Subject: Re: Grind type / Time to brew / Espresso taste
 

Using Eric's E61 thermometer, temperature indicated is 203F at the start of the brew and 197F at the end of the brew.  Going cooler has resulted in sour shots for me.

I have used Social's People's Daily prior to this (which I sampled at the roasters) and although I did get the same flavours at home, mine was always more bitter (I was brewing in 25-30 seconds with that bag of beans).

Can the amount of coffee I am using (15g) cause the bitter flavours as the grind I am using  to achieve 25--30 seconds may be too fine (just speculating here)?
Would increasing the dose (to say 16 or 17g) and adjusting grind to get 25-30 seconds reduce bitterness as the grind would be coarser (although OP said they use 14 and had similar results with 15 and 16g)?

Playing around at a friend's last night with a new bean too fine of a grind caused bitter espresso, and going coarser got rid of the bitterness but reduced the mouth-feel (espresso was watery).  This was on a machine with a pressurized portafilter basket.
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